Importance of Gutter Cleaning
Gutters serve the purpose of moving water drainage away from your house to a few safe drain locations around the property. Although they look like they drain right by the house anyway, that’s not the whole story of what a gutter does. If you neglect your gutters and they clog, break, leak, or drain elsewhere, you can start experiencing very unfortunate consequences around your whole property.
Leaks can start to occur in your basement or the bottom floor of your house, because water will be draining up against the side of the house and will go through any small openings or cracks it encounters. A more serious problem is the risk of foundation issues that can occur when drainage isn’t done correctly. When water drains around the foundation of the house, it can move dirt around underneath the concrete, which causes the foundation itself to shift and potentially to crack.
If you live in an area that has cold seasons, water that drains into cracks in the foundation can then freeze, causing the openings to widen even more and doing immense harm to your home’s foundation. This is why it’s very important that you pay attention to maintaining your gutters and doing rain gutter cleaning as often as necessary. It’s better to be safe than to be sorry in this case!
When Do You Need to Clean Your Gutters?
So, how can you tell when to clean your gutters and how frequently should you expect to do it? The frequency depends entirely on where you live and what surrounds your house. The rule of thumb is that you should clean them twice per year in the spring and fall, but that’s not always the case for every house.
If you live in a dry, desert climate with few or no trees around you, there won’t be much need to clean your gutters twice a year. While dust can collect in the gutters, it’s not as serious of a threat as heavier clog that stop water from moving as it should. In this case, you probably only need to clean them out once per year, preferably right before the normal rainiest season.
In forest settings where there are many trees and other plants surrounding your house, you may actually need gutter cleaning services more often. Leaves, organic plant materials, and animal nests are some of the worst offenders for clogging up your gutters. So, if you’re in the middle of a lot of plants and animals, consider cleaning your gutters out four times a year to ensure they stay functional all year-round.
Throughout the year, it’s a good idea to check the gutters every month or two to make sure they are working right. You can climb up the ladder and do a quick visual check to see if there are any clogs or issues that need to be corrected. Or, if you want to be a bit more thorough, take your hose up on the ladder and pour a stream into the gutters to make sure they’re working correctly. If you see any clogs, remove them immediately.
Ideal Timing for Gutter Cleaning Services
If you live in a temperate zone with only a handful of trees nearby your house, it’s advised to clean the gutters once in the fall after the leaves have left the trees and once in the spring before the rain starts falling consistently. This will help your gutters to drain as they should and to work right for the most important times of the year.
In a desert, you should look to clean them in the cooler months of the year, ideally right before the rain is about to start. Since the gutters won’t be as clogged with leaves and debris in any particular season, you can usually do this at the same time annually and get fine results. You may way to test your gutters with a hose after cleaning them, just to make sure there are no repairs needed from the dry seasons and storms.
Those who live in forest areas can clean out their gutters every three months. Try to plan it so that you are not attempting to clean gutters in the middle of winter, as this is a useless task if it’s icy or snowy, and you may be at more risk on the ladder in winter weather. The main purpose is to keep leaves from clogging up your gutters and causing problems when it rains or begins to snow.
Tip: Clean Your Downspouts with Your Gutters
Cleaning out the gutter is not exclusive to the gutters that line your roof. You also should clear out the downspouts and make sure there’s no clogs inside while you’re at it. Take your hose up to the gutters and run water through the gutters and downspouts to make sure that the water is going where it should without pooling or stopping anywhere, even in the downspouts.
When to Repair or Replace Your Gutters
If you’re cleaning your gutters and you notice anything wrong with them, it’s wise to take a closer look and see what kind of issue you’re dealing with. Sometimes when you neglect a clog or mess long enough it can start to cause leaks in the gutters, which will create more problem the longer they stay.
Other problems that are easy to notice are sagging gutters, bent downspouts, cracked metal, holes or punctures of any kind. All of these may not seem like big issues at the time, but they can easily develop into worse problems in a short time.
Small things like leaks and slight sags can be fixed on your own if you have the right type of tools and experience. These are simple fixes that can usually be done quickly and easily. However, if there are more serious problems with the gutters, it may be a good idea to call in professional help to make sure this part of your house is functioning at full capacity before it leads to anything else.
How Much Does Gutter Cleaning Cost?
No company has a set cost to cleat the gutters of every home. It is usually based on the time taken, size of the house, or the length of the gutters. There are a lot of reliable average prices for gutter cleaning services, but remember that you may pay something a little different based on your specific house and how a company prices it.
In general, single story houses are cheaper than multi-level houses, because there is no need for more than one worker. If your gutters are higher than 40 feet off the ground, usually a special extension ladder is needed and it becomes a two-man job. This will essentially double the price, as you’ll be paying labor prices for two people rather than one.
For the average single story home of 1500 square feet or less, you can expect to pay between $70-$200 dollars. With square footage of 1500-2000, the price average increases to $90-$225. Houses between 2000 and 2500 square feet have an average gutter cleaning cost of around $100-$250. With more than 2500 square feet, you can easily expect to pay upwards of $250, again dependent on the size and conditions of your house.
Multi-level houses with gutters less than 40 feet from the ground can expect similar prices to those listed above for the same square footage. If your house gutters are above the 40 feet level, it’s safe to say you should double that estimate price.
Sometimes downspouts are an additional cost, as they may not be included in the company’s normal gutter cleaning services. Check with the company you want to hire and see what is included with their services. If possible, look for a company that will also perform small maintenance like tightening bolts, inspecting for leaks, sealing end caps, and bagging and removing all waste from the gutters. This will help you get the most value for your money!